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By Tomás León

Hearings on two bills that would affect court interpreter licensing have been scheduled for next Wednesday, April 15th. The two bills, HB 4445 and SB 1892, are companion versions for the House of Representatives and the Senate of proposed legislation that would create a lower level of licensing for court interpreters, essentially creating a second tier of less-qualified court interpreters who would be licensed to work in justice of the peace and municipal courts.

The Texas Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (TAJIT) strongly opposes both pieces of legislation and encourages Texas court interpreters to contact their state senators and representatives to urge them to vote against these bills. TAJIT believes that people with limited English proficiency are entitled to the best possible level of assistance, irrespective of whether they are facing legal action in a justice of the peace court, a municipal court, or a district court. They should not have to settle for second-class help just because they are in a lower court. That’s almost as ludicrous as saying that the legislature should license two kinds of lawyers: one to represent people in a justice of the peace court and the other to represent people in a district court!

The Senate Jurisprudence Committee public hearing on SB 1892 will be held on Wednesday, April 15, at 1:30 p.m. in room E1.012 at the Texas State Capitol. The House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee hearing will be held on the same day in room E1.030 and is scheduled to begin after the House adjourns for the day (but HB 4445 is the last item on the Committee’s agenda, so anyone planning to testify on this bill can anticipate a late night).

See the TAJIT website for more information on TAJIT’s stance on this proposed legislation. Follow these links to view the text of the two bills: SB 1892HB 4445.

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  • In the Winter issue of SOURCE, the newsletter for ATA’s Literary Division–edited by AATIA’s own Michele Aynesworth–Tony Beckwith, another AATIA stalwart, makes a return appearance with his By the Way column and BTW cartoon. Special features include an interview with Arnie Johnston, whose translations of Jacques Brel lyrics made such a splash at the last ALTA conference; Mark Herman’s look at strategies for translating names in opera (that’s Bo-RIS, not BO-ris); and a machine translation of an Argentine zamba ("Knock-kneed, I sing to you") guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.

    Summer Source now online

    Source-8-27 The Summer 2008 issue of ATA’s new online version of Source, the Literary Division newsletter, is now available.

    Don’t miss Tony Beckwith’s cover-page cartoon and By the Way: My LitSIG column, plus a fascinating look at Computer Game Localization and Literary Translation by Frank Dietz.

    Potential contributors to the Fall issue should email submissions to Source Editor Michele Aynesworth.

    Elke Wehr

    Elke Wehr — one of Germany’s best known Spanish translators — died last Friday in Berlin, at age 62, according to Suhrkamp Publishers of Frankfurt. Wehr gained notoriety with her translations of key works by Javier Marías of Spain, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, Julio Cortázar of Argentina, and Octavio Paz of Mexico, among others. In 2006, she was awarded the Paul Celan Prize by the German Literary Fund in recognition of her works, particularly her translation of Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos’ masterpiece Yo, el Supremo which was considered the most difficult adaption.

    She was not only an extraordinary translator, but also took it upon herself to discover new authors, according to Jürgen Dormagen of Suhrkamp. Wehr’s last translation was the novel Los días azules by Colombian author Fernando Vallejo, whose German edition will be published this August.

    UNESCO has just announced that its first update of the world translation bibliography of Index Translationum for the year 2008 is now online, featuring some 75,000 new entries from Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Finland, France, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain.

    This edition of Index Translationum contains some 1,800,000 references (from 1979 to now) on all subjects. Offered are all manner of ways to sort the data—many of them surprising and, as often happens with data, difficult to interpret.

    TransLit: call for submissions

    atialogoSubmissions are now being accepted for TransLit Volume 8, a special themed issue titled “Poetry and Short Stories of the Americas” that will be published in spring 2009 by the Literary Translation Collective of the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) in cooperation with the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (LTAC).

    Interested translators may submit a short (<2500 words) translation to or from one of the four main languages of the Americas (English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese) or any indigenous language along with the original text. The original or translation must be in English or French. The submission should include brief biographies of the translator and the author, permission to publish from the author and publisher, and bibliographical data for the original.

    Send submissions by July 1, 2008 to:

    Editors, TransLit Volume 8
    School of Translation and Interpretation
    University of Ottawa
    Arts Building, 4th Floor
    Ottawa, Ontario
    CANADA K1N 6N5

    Contact editors Marc Charron or Luise von Flotow for more information.

    Source adopts online newsletter format

    Source, the Newsletter of the ATA’s Literary Division, will take the form of an online newsletter and has issued a call for submissions for its August 2008 issue.

    The newsletter provides “a forum for activities, issues, and humor pertaining to the tricky craft of literary translation.” It seeks contributions of general interest to literary translators: reviews, news, articles of general interest, interviews, photos, cartoons, fora, and conundra.

    If you would like to host a regular column or wish to contribute to the August issue—deadline for submissions is June 15—contact Editor Michele Aynesworth.

    Portuguese translator wins PEN award

    The-MaiasThe PEN American Center has announced the winner of this year’s Translation Prize, and it couldn’t have gone to a more accomplished translator. This year’s award goes to Margaret Jull Costa for her translation into English from the Portuguese of The Maias (New Directions) by Eça de Queirós.

    From the judges’ citation:

    Over the years Margaret Jull Costa has produced a number of notable translations of the fiction of Eça de Queirós, the great Portuguese novelist, who is widely considered to be one of the major European novelists of the 19th century, often ranked with Flaubert, Balzac, Dickens, and Tolstoy. Most recently, Margaret Jull Costa turned her hand to Os Maias, Eça de Queirós’s greatest work, and the results are stunning. The sensuous elegance of the prose vividly captures the greatness of the original, bringing the novel to life for the reader in a way only the most masterful of translations can do. Clearly a labor of love, Margaret Jull Costa’s brilliant translation of The Maias stands as a masterpiece in its own right. Eça de Queirós lives in English!

    AATIA is one of the nation’s leading resources and advocates for the translation and interpretation community. Our mission: to serve AATIA members through education, networking, and promotion of translation and interpretation professions.

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